Canada halts deportation of Indian students

Canada's Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, announced on Wednesday that the planned deportation of numerous students who had entered the country using forged university letters of acceptance would be frozen.

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In a significant development, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, announced on Wednesday that the planned deportation of Indian students who had entered the country using forged university letters of acceptance would be frozen. The decision comes in the wake of a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in March, which revealed an alleged immigration scheme involving students from India.

According to the CBC report, the acceptance letters presented by the students appeared genuine and were believed to be written by universities. However, the Canada Border Services Agency discovered their fraudulent nature, subsequently informing the students and warning them about possible deportation of Indian students.

The affected students claim to have been unaware of the forgery, shifting the blame onto immigration agents based in India who assisted them with their applications. The students and advocates have actively petitioned to halt the deportations, emphasizing their innocence in the matter.

Minister Fraser addressed the issue during a press conference, revealing the formation of a special task force to review the cases of students facing deportation. While an exact number was not provided, he confirmed that pending removals would be halted temporarily, granting the affected students permission to remain in Canada during the consideration period.

Official figures indicate that in 2022, over 800,000 international students were holding active visas in Canada, with approximately 320,000 hailing from India. Canada’s lenient work permit regulations and reputation as a desirable destination for international students have contributed to its popularity among the global student community.

Several students who spoke to the CBC disclosed that after arriving in Canada, the agents responsible for their applications informed them that they could not attend the university mentioned in their acceptance letters. Instead, they were redirected to private colleges. The fraudulent scheme came to light when these students attempted to apply for work permits or seek permission to stay in Canada after completing their courses.

Minister Fraser reassured the public that genuine international students who were victims of the fraudulent agents would be allowed to remain in Canada. However, those found to be complicit in the scheme would face consequences. Authorities will focus on identifying evidence of individuals who arrived in Canada and immediately began working rather than pursuing their studies.

With a population of approximately 39.5 million people, Canada aims to welcome a record number of 500,000 new permanent residents by 2025. The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change has been actively supporting the affected students, highlighting their years in Canada. While today’s announcement is viewed as a positive interim step, organizers stress the urgent need for a permanent solution that includes regularising these students and all undocumented individuals who have been unjustly deprived of their rights.

Organizer Sarom Rho stated, “What is urgently needed is a permanent solution through regularization of these students and all undocumented people who through no fault of their own have been deprived of their rights.”

As the situation continues to unfold, Canada faces the challenge of striking a balance between upholding its immigration policies and providing relief to innocent students who fell victim to fraudulent practices in order to ensure a just resolution for all parties involved.

Read More: Free legal aid to students facing deportation from Canada

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